We examine whether audit quality affects the trade-off between accrual-based and real earnings management. We hypothesize that firms motivated to manage earnings per share (EPS) to meet or beat consensus analysts' forecasts are more likely to engage in accretive stock repurchases (a form of real earnings management) when their ability to manage earnings through accruals is constrained by high audit quality. We find that firms with high audit quality are more likely to use accretive stock repurchases and less likely to use accrual-based earnings management to meet or beat consensus analysts' forecasts. Our results are robust to various controls for endogeneity concerns.

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